Nautical aesthetics permit you to pamper yourself with an oceanside retreat and not even have to pack a bag — or live near the ocean, for that matter. You can bring coastal inspiration to any space and recreate the tranquility of the salt-scented wind and open water at home through design.
Here are five instances of how this can be done through the use of colors, furniture and materials, fabric and textures, accents and accessories, and architecture.
Blue Hues and Faded Favorites
Weathered by the waves and bleached by the sun, it’s no wonder that nautical-themed spaces tend to have a relatively pale palette. Lighter shades of blue and green suit this look, along with plenty of white, and soft tan earth tones that are reminiscent of sand, wood, and stones. To enliven the space, pale pinks — and other colors that you could picture shimmering beneath the surface as you cruise past a coral reef — are always an excellent option.
When opting for a bolder color, blue is the obvious choice — something strong and bright that signifies the ocean, as seen in this luxury California beach house. Fully furnished, the property showcases all the essentials of the nautical style across its seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, amenity-enriched rooftop terrace, and oceanfront veranda.
Driftwood, Seagrass, and Stone
Creating a nautical ambiance requires natural materials. Feature pieces made with rattan and wicker, or furniture built from reclaimed wood, can all add to the look and feel of a room. So can more original materials such as rope, glass, and bamboo. Weathered surfaces and sinuous lines can create the subtle suggestion of wind and waves.
In this private, four-level boutique home situated directly on the border between Florida’s Inlet Beach and Camp Helen State Park, the naturalness of nautical design is on full display. Statement pieces that captured the sun-soaked, sand-blasted beauty of living by the sea are complemented by the surfaces on the floors and double-height ceilings.
Bohemian Meets Breton Stripes
When it comes to fabric and upholstery, lined patterns immediately leave a nautical impression, whether they’re the broad bands of a chunky-knit beach blanket or the iconic Breton stripe made famous by the French navy under Napoleon. The coastal aesthetic of thickly-woven textures, natural fibers, and vacation-worthy comfort also lends itself well to more bohemian prints that add visual flair to otherwise minimalist spaces.
The use of textiles to capture the spirit of seaside living can be seen in this unique up-island estate in Massachusetts. Situated on a picturesque hilltop with panoramic views of Squibnocket Beach and the Vineyard Sound, this home has the feel of a summer cottage but the luxuries of a palace: four bedrooms, five-star amenities, an expansive lap pool, and a two-bedroom private guest house swathed in the pristine greenery of the East Coast.
Connect to The Sea Through Art
How can the maritime spirit be portrayed through objects and accents? Blown glass, with its curves and sheen, can subtly convey water. But beyond that, there’s no shortage of statement pieces that infuse a space with nautical vibes, from ocean-inspired art or wallpaper to a framed vintage map. Flowers and plants also make lovely additions, whether live or dried.
The dining room in this exceptional mansion provides an example of how you can embrace the ocean through inspired interior design choices. At first glance, you’d be forgiven for mistaking this six-bedroom masterpiece for a classic Hamptons getaway, but it’s actually located in the Premium Point enclave of New York — in fact, Manhattan is so close that the skyline can be seen from the nearby marina.
Pay Attention to Space and Scale
Any home can be converted into a seaside-inspired retreat, but there are certain built elements that can elevate this aesthetic. Cathedral ceilings, exposed beams, thatched roofing for outdoor structures, or round windows evocative of a ship’s portholes are some examples of how a home’s architecture can enhance the nautical milieu. But even if a home lacks these details, any space with large windows and plenty of natural light can be outfitted with a quintessential nautical look.
The cathedral ceilings on this scenic Curtis Point property, along with other architectural details such as cupola roofs and the charming weathervane, lend themselves well to the nautical style. And with an oceanside pool — along with proprietary lifts to lower your boat to and from the adjacent canal — the home takes seaside living to the next level.
Your next nautical escape can take place in the comfort of your own home by embracing coastal aesthetics. With the right design and décor, a favorite chair can transform into a seaside deck, a favorite room into a restful voyage, spiriting you away to a soothing physical and mental space of relaxation, inspiration, and calm.
Craving more creative inspiration? Check out these five amazing homes created by some of the world’s most renowned architects.